Sunday school students at First Presbyterian Church gathered for a different kind of class last weekend.

The youths learned a lesson in generosity through Operation Christmas Child.

This marks the third year the local church has served as a drop-off site for Operation Christmas Child. The project, part of Samaritan’s Purse, collects shoeboxes filled with toys, schools supplies and hygiene items to send to children in need.

“There are children in the world who are less fortunate than we are,” Kris Wilch told the Sunday school class. “So today we will be filling up boxes with toys to be sent all over the world to give someone a special Christmas.”

Wilch reminded the class that while members of the community may also be in need, there are local toy and food drives to help those closer to home.

“Anyone in town can fill up a shoebox," Wilch said. “We are not the only church or organization in town that can do this. We are only the drop-off site, just as we were last year.”

First Presbyterian Church is one of roughly 5,000 drop-off sites in the United States and Puerto Rico. Samaritan’s Purse will begin collecting the boxes Nov. 13-20 to be shipped around the world.

A total of 159 boxes were collected through the church last year, a number Wilch hopes to top this year.

“Twenty-seven boxes were donated by our congregation last year,” Wilch said. “The rest came from the community and we are all so grateful for the help.”

The boxes can be gender- and age-specific. Items not allowed are candy, toothpaste and used or damaged items. War-related toys such as toy guns, knives or any military figures are also prohibited.

Virtual shoeboxes may also be filled through www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.

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